Moloney headlining festivalThe headliner for this year’s Jamestown Culture Festival Aug. 1-3 is Mick Moloney and The Green Fields of America, internationally known performers of Irish music.
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
The headliner for this year’s Jamestown Culture Festival Aug. 1-3 is Mick Moloney and The Green Fields of America, internationally known performers of Irish music.
Moloney combines the careers of folklorist, arts presenter and advocate, professional musician and radio and television personality. When not performing, producing or lecturing, Moloney leads a series of Irish Folklore Tours, offering an authentic Irish cultural experience.
Moloney left Ireland to live in Philadelphia more than 20 years ago. As a college student in the 1960s, he was exposed to Irish music and that led to his becoming a professional musician. For a number of years thereafter, he performed with various Irish singing groups, playing guitar and banjo in the Dublin folk music scene.
“There they were, literally a half an hour drive away from my house, the greatest musicians in Ireland,” he said. “I devoted a couple of years of my life just to fanatical playing and practicing and hanging out in sessions.”
Since Moloney emigrated, he’s not only created what is considered by many to be one of the best Irish music acts in the country, he achieved a Ph.D. in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught ethnomusicology, folklore and Irish studies courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown and Villanova universities and currently teaches at New York University in the Irish Studies program.
Moloney has recorded and produced more than 40 albums of traditional music and acted as advisor for scores of festivals and concerts all over America. He also served as the artistic director for several major arts tours including the Green Fields of America. Green Fields, an ensemble of Irish musicians, singers and dancers, will be joining Moloney for his appearance at the Culture Festival.
The Green Fields of America, which began in 1978, is an institution in Irish music today. The concept behind it was presenting Irish traditional music, singing and dancing with American-based performers. The musicians and dancers are of every age and description, whose common ground is technical skill and a love for traditional music and dance.
It was the first group on either side of the Atlantic to bring together Irish vocal, insturmental and dance traditions on the concert and festival stage. The group has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian Institution, the Festival of American Folklife and the National Folk Festival.
The music never stops for Moloney, but alongside playing and recording, he has another career. As a folklorist and the director of the Folklife Center at International House in Philadelphia, he is involved in programs that present the folk arts, including folk music, to the public.
He has hosted three nationally syndicated series of folk music on American Public Television. He’s been a consultant, performer and interviewee on the Irish Television special “Bringing It All Back Home.” He was a participant, consultant and music arranger of the PBS documentary film, “Out of Ireland,” and a performer on the PBS special “The Irish in America: Long Journey Home.”
Moloney and Green Fields will perform at the Culture Festival, starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, at McElroy Park. Admission is $5.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org